[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: A possible weakened rephrase of clause 5d [was: Re: GPL v3 Draft 3- text and comments]

On Thu, 12 Apr 2007 00:46:06 +0200, Francesco Poli <frx@firenze.linux.it> wrote:

OK, this is my attempt to rephrase clause 5d in a form that is weak
enough to be less harmful than clause 2c of GPLv2:
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~ begin proposed text ~~~~~~~~~~~~
      d) If the Program has interactive user interfaces which display
     legal notices, this feature must be preserved in each interactive
     interface that is also present in the work.  In this subsection, an
     interactive interface is said to "display legal notices" if it
     includes a convenient feature that displays an appropriate
     copyright notice, and tells the user that there is no warranty for
     the work (unless you provide a warranty), that licensees may convey
     the work under this License, and how to view a copy of this
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ end proposed text ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What does "each interactive interface" mean? I.e., what delimiters an interface?
Does a program with more than one window have more than one interface?
What if it is a web application with several clients? That each open different windows? (This is not specified in the GPLv3 draft either, but I don't think
it is at all obvious.)

Anyway, consider this case:

Program A has a graphical user interface with an "about" feature showing legal
 notices. It also has some very clever algorithms in its belly.

Program B wants to use the algorithms, but cares not for the interface of program A.

 Program B has an interactive textual user interface.
 (Can the *feature* be preserved when going from graphical to textual?)

 Program B extracts the algorithms and uses them, but dumps the interface.
 Should Program B preserve the legal notices? Obviously yes.

 Now the people at Program B Software first extract the clever algorithms
and distributes them, alone, under the original license, as allowed by the GPL. Then they use *this* distribution in program B. The program they use has no interactive user interface at all, and no feature displaying legal notices, so program B isn't
 required to have it either.

This problem is inherent to linking a requirement relating to an entire program to only parts of that program (here: the user interface). Anybody can remove those
parts and distribute the rest, thereby removing the requirement.

Your version does alleviate this problem. Clause 5d of GPLv3draft3, as you quoted it,
does. It requires that legal notices be inserted if deriving form a program
with no user interface (but not from one with a user interface but without
legal notices). It's not necessarily the same notices as the original program, though,
just the default GPL notices.

Lasse R. Nielsen - atwork@infimum.dk
 'Faith without judgement merely degrades the spirit divine'
Reproduction of this message, or parts thereof, is allowed if proper attribution is given.

Reply to: